Speaking ahead of the first vote of confidence in his minority government,
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš set out its aims. In an almost one-hour speech
to the Chamber of Deputies, the ANO chief referred to six areas, including
the European Union, investment, security, the digitalisation of the state
administration, pension reform and reform of the state.
Mr. Babiš said that it was nonsense to say that ANO were threatening democracy and that the party actually wished to develop it. He said his cabinet would work to improve the lives of Czech citizens and that the country had the potential to reach the first division in Europe.
The leading Czech internet company Seznam.cz is set to launch a nationwide
TV station on Friday. Entitled Televize Seznam, it will be available as a
classic terrestrial channel and on the internet.
Presenting the station on Wednesday, representatives said it aimed to base its product on well-known faces from the world of Czech journalism and would deliver both news and entertainment.
The Czech Syndicate of Journalists has condemned a decision by the
spokesman for President Miloš Zeman not to respond to questions from the
newspaper Hospodářské noviny or the news site Aktuálně.cz on the
financing of the head of state’s campaign for reelection.
Spokesman Jiří Ovčáček told the media outlets to apply for the information via a law on freedom of information. He said the media group they were part of, Economia, had been spreading disinformation about Mr. Zeman for months.
President Miloš Zeman says the non-Communist ministers who resigned in
1948, allowing the Communists to take power, were “stupid”. He made the
comment in a speech at an event at Prague Castle on Tuesday night marking
the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia and the 25th
establishment of the foundation of the Czech Republic.
Mr. Zeman said that then Communist Party chief Alexander Dubček had “crapped himself” in fear in the face of Warsaw Pact aggression in 1968. He also said that the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989 had not been brought about by dissidents but Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who deserved respect for this.
Church restitution needs to be amended, according to Prime Minister Andrej
Babiš of ANO. Speaking on Wednesday, he said that was why his government
was backing a Communist Party proposal to tax financial compensation for
assets that were not returned to churches under a divisive restitution
bill. Mr. Babiš said the financial compensation had been overinflated and
approved in the lower house in strange circumstances.
The Communists have made taxing the financial compensation to churches a condition for supporting or tolerating an ANO minority government.
The leader of the Christian Democrats, Pavel Bělobrádek, said taxing the compensation would be to deny the rule of law.
The minority government of Prime Minister and ANO Party leader Andrej
Babiš is set to face a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies on
The ANO government is expected to lose its first attempt to find backing in the lower house since all the other parliamentary parties, including the Communists, have said they were not willing to support it. A second attempt at winning a confidence vote has been promised by head of state, Miloš Zeman, who is scheduled to appear and speak in the Chamber of Deputies ahead of the vote on Wednesday.
The remains of Czech Cardinal Josef Beran will be transported to the Czech
Republic from the Vatican in April, Cardinal Dominik Duka said on Tuesday.
They will be buried in St. Vitus’ Cathedral at Prague Castle.
Beran was exiled to Rome, where he died in 1969. He was buried in the crypt of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican because the Czechoslovak communist authorities did not approve the return of his body to his homeland.
Last week, Pope Francis gave consent to the transport of Beran’s remains in accordance with the late cardinal’s last wishes.
Czech company ZVU Strojírny Hradec Králové on Tuesday dispatched the
first part of a device for an oil refinery in Basra, Iraq.
The delivery is part of a three-billion-crown deal (around 135 million US dollars) signed by a consortium of Czech firms led by Technoexport for building two distillation units at refineries in Iraq.
The Czechs’ partner in Iraq is the Iraqi Oil Ministry. The company from Hradec Králové is set to provide some 40 atmospheric distillation units to Iraq.
A ceremony at Prague Castle on Tuesday evening will launch the celebrations
of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia and 25 years
since the foundation of an independent Czech Republic.
The event at the Spanish Hall of Prague Castle will be attended by a number of political and public figures, including Czech President Miloš Zeman, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Czech president, along with Cardinal Dominik Duka, are set to open an exhibition called ‘Founded 1918 / At the beginning of the statehood’ at Prague Castle’s Imperial Stables, presenting unique documents and other objects relating to the beginning of the Czech State.